RAGT Seeds is preparing to launch a series of new, innovative oilseed rape solutions, as a result of the company resetting its breeding programme a few years ago.

New material will be available to sow this autumn, covering a range of growth habits, traits and agronomic features, says RAGT UK managing director, Lee Bennett.

RGT Blackmoon

First up is RGT Blackmoon – a variety with early, strong vigour that suits less fertile or exposed sites or where drilling is going to be late.

“If you require a crop that gets away quickly and never looks back, Blackmoon is the one,” says Lee. “It has to be managed correctly – sow early on fertile sites or you’ll want the sheep on it. Play to the variety’s strengths and it won’t let you down; it’s certainly not shy of yield.”

According to Lee, Blackmoon’s phoma resistance is very good and the variety is resistant to TUYV. A taller type, it has very stiff straw and an upright canopy with good resistance to pod shatter, making for an easy harvest.

“It has a unique look,” comments Lee. “It has plenty of biomass which is a big part of what farmers look for in a variety – they want a healthy-looking big crop that looks forward, never backwards. If you want serious get up and go then Blackmoon has no equal,” he stresses.

RGT Ceos

Next is RGT Ceos which contains a range of valuable traits stacked into a different genetic background. Ceos has been produced using a new parent line via the MSL hybridisation system introduced as part of RAGT’s recently revamped OSR breeding programme.

“Ceos is a good example of our new breeding direction and contains some real game-changing characteristics,” says Lee.

This includes a strong disease resistance package featuring RAGT’s unique source of TuYV resistance, along with pod shatter resistance and the potential for very high yields.

Lee says the variety performs consistently whether planted early or late, and is extremely vigorous – all useful traits for cabbage stem flea beetle management. “Ceos has very stiff straw and isn’t too tall; it should combine well,” he adds.

Insecticide-free cropping

For an alternative approach, RAGT’s new Greenpack Gold companion crop mix offers OSR growers a means of qualifying for a £100/ha SFI payment – a combination of the companion cropping option (IPM3, worth £55/ha) and the insecticide-free crop option (IPM4, worth £45/ha).

Greenpack Gold contains fenugreek and buckwheat which provide the usual companion crop benefits but while helping to protect small, vulnerable OSR plants from CSFB attack in the autumn.

It also contains a very early flowering OSR variety to help to reduce pollen beetle damage in the main crop in the following spring.

“This early variety comes into bloom 7-12 days earlier than the main commercial variety, attracting the beetles and helping to protect the main crop through the vulnerable bud stage,” says Lee.

“By using this unique companion crop mix, you have the best chance of securing a £55/ha payment for planning a companion crop, plus a further £45/ha for not following up with any insecticide,” he concludes.

For further information on these and other new RAGT OSR varieties, click here.